Looking for the best Kent Christmas events and days out this year? We have over 25 suggestions for some festive fun in both Kent and East Sussex this year!
The best Kent Christmas events and days out this year – I think we could all do some Christmas cheer to end 2020 on a high! Here at My Tunbridge Wells we have making a list and checking it twice for festive activities to enjoy with the family this year in and around Tunbridge Wells as well as throughout Kent and East Sussex. Anywhere a Tunbridge Wells family would visit this festive season.
Organisers have worked hard to safely provide many of the seasonal favourites, as well as adapting to offer exciting, new ideas too. The skating is back at Calverley Grounds, panto is on (oh no it isn’t, oh yes, it is), Santa Claus IS coming to town, there’s a drive-in show, Christmas at Bedgebury, a steam train that lights up the sky and much more!
Separate to this, We have a bumper blog post with places to visit Father Christmas in Kent and East Sussex this year. The places mentioned below or more of a festive family day whether you decide to visit Santa or not.
So what exactly are the best East Sussex and Kent Christmas events and days out this year?
♥ The open-air ice rink is back at Calverley Grounds in Tunbridge Wells for its 12th year. I’m so pleased, as it’s such a festive spectacle and annual treat that would be really missed now. Additional safety measures are in place this year, such as one extra-large rink to allow for distancing and face masks will be required on the ice. Toddler sessions are running on weekends at 9.15am. Booking is now open for sessions from Friday 13th November through until Sunday 3rd January 2021.
♥ Take the family to Wilderness Wood to pick out and cut your own Christmas tree. The Christmas Markets will be taking place on 28th and 29th November as well as well as 5th, 6th, 12th and 13th December. There will be festive fun, with barista coffee and hot chocolate, wood fired pizzas, chestnuts and treats on the fire, as well and tree decorations and gifts for sale from local artists.
♥ The popular Wealden Times Midwinter Fair will be an online affair this year between 12th-15th November. Get your Christmas shopping sorted from many of the event’s well-loved exhibitors, as well as some new handpicked ones, selling must-have fashion, gorgeous homewares, luxury gifts, unique decorations and artisan & food drink. Sign up to receive an exclusive discount shopping code.
♥ The Bluebell Railway in Uckfield, will be lighting up the winter nights from 14th November with a seasonal lights spectacular, not seen before in the South East. Jump aboard a magical steam train covered with thousands of colourful lights, which illuminates the landscape as you pass festive displays, music and narration.
♥ Visiting Bedgebury Pinetum after dark to marvel open-mouthed at the mile-long magical spectacle of light has become a highlight of the season for many families. Christmas at Bedgebury makes a welcome return for a third year, from Friday 20th November until New Year’s Eve. Surround yourself with singing trees saturated in colour-changing lights, giant baubles and snowflakes, the breath-taking tunnel of light, flickering flames in the fire garden, and don’t miss a special appearance by Father Christmas. Read our Christmas at Bedgebury review.
More of the best East Sussex and Kent Christmas events and days out…
♥ Hever Castle invite you to never grow up at Peter Pan’s Christmas on selected dates from 21st November until Christmas Eve. Follow the immersive trail through the garden to Neverland, ride the traditional carousel, visit the decorated castle and book a timed slot to see Father Christmas in his grotto if you wish. Christmas at Hever Castle is always a magical day out!
♥ Take a trip to the seaside with a twist – visit Hastings Pier Ice Rink from 21st November until 3rd January. The pier’s Winter Wonderland will be open daily with festive rides, food, and bars. It’s apparently the first pier in the UK to operate a real ice rink. Well done Hastings!
♥ Standen House invites visitors to immerse themselves in a 1930’s family Christmas from 21st November to 3rd January 2020. Learn about the Beale family traditions in the house and then head out to the gardens on the themed children’s trail.
♥ Get yourself firmly in the festive spirit when a Winter Fair arrives at Ardingly showground, in West Sussex from 21st to 22nd November. As well as shopping from local and independent traders, step into the huge snow globe for a magical photo, make a door wreath or decorate festive chocolates, enjoy street entertainment, live music, street food, the funfair and Santa’s grotto.
One of our favourite Christmassy places to visit…
♥ Transport yourself to Christmas past at Ightham Mote. The Great Hall is decorated for a Victorian Christmas and the Library ready for a 1950’s American Christmas. The kids can run off steam in the gardens on the self-led family trail. Every day from Saturday 28th November 2020 to Sunday 3rd January 2021.
♥ Imagine the best panto, your favourite Christmas movie and festive show all rolled into one! Well that’s what the team at Tulleys Farm have been working on this year for a Drive-In Christmas experience. For one year only, prepare to take part in the Christmas show, shown live on the giant screen, with interactive games, sing along, plus gingerbread making and build a bear delivered to your car to add to the cheer! Book now for weekend dates from 28th November and every day from 19th -24th December.
♥ Further afield, Wakehurst gardens will be glowing after dark, with lanterns, mesmerising projections, soundscapes, fire torches and the UK’s tallest living Christmas tree adorned with 1,800 twinkling lights. Glow Wild 2020 runs on selected evenings between 26th November and 30th December.
♥ A trip to London to see the Christmas Lights never fails to get us in the mood! Winter Wonderland is unfortunately cancelled this year, but there are plenty more seasonal events in London at Christmas time, such as the Winter Markets, , pop-up ice rinks and Christmas shows, to name a few, not forgetting the world-famous shopping!
♥ If you like the idea of taking some time out for yourself and doing something creative with friends then Christmas Wreath Making might be a great options for you. There are a few places to do it including the beautiful Bloom Foundry in St John’s which promises to be great fun!
Look out for more Kent Christmas events and days out being added to this post…
♥ Explore Haysden Country Park with a self-led Christmas walking trail, which can be collected near the flagpole between 5th December and 1st January. On Saturday 5th and Saturday 12th December from 10am-1pm, the park volunteers will be fundraising by selling natural Christmas decorations, gifts and the Haysden Country Park Calendar.
♥ All aboard the Polar Express train for a magical, immersive pantomime adventure visiting 14 sets from around the world. Play the family games and solve the challenges before arriving at the North Pole and the Big Man himself who has a gift for the kids. Booking now for dates between 7th December and 5th January at Phileas Fogg’s World of Adventures near Brighton.
♥ The show must go on at the EM Forster Theatre Panto this year and the hilarious Tom Swift will be making a welcome return with his latest panto; Robin Hood and his Socially Distanced Merry Men’. Expect all the usual side-splitting routines including The Boombox in a socially distanced auditorium, on selected dates between 18th December to 3rd January.
♥ Christmas film at the cinema? We aren’t sure what will be showing as yet but fingers crossed for a festive movie – whether it’s a new release or an old classic. We went to the cinema recently and there were only two other families there so it was very easy to social distance…
More festive fun both locally in Tunbridge Wells and further afield…
♥ It’s not the festive season without the Assembly Hall Theatre Panto! This year, albeit a little smaller, they have pulled out the stops to bring a socially distanced, fast paced, pop-up Panto full of fun to Tunbridge Wells. Jack and the Beanstalk panto tickets are on sale now for performances on Friday 18th December to Sunday 3rd January.
♥ A star-studded cast from TV and stage are at the Stag Theatre Sevenoaks for a Covid-safe staging of Jack and the Two Metre Beanstalk Panto, between 18th December and 3rd January.
♥ Support people living with terminal illness by joining in with the Hospice in the Weald’s festive stich-a-stocking campaign. Download the guide to sew, knit or crotchet a Christmas stocking for the Hospice to sell online and in their charity shops, raising vital funds to run the Hospice.
♥ Garden centres always make me feel festive, with all the twinkling lights, Christmas trees and decorations. The whole family can enjoy picking out a tree, picking up some new decorations and then head to the café for a mince pie. Head to your favourite, or Sussex Country Garden, Notcutts, Millbrook in Staplehurst or Crowborough and Polhill are some of ours!
Who else loves a Christmas market?
♥ Soak up the festive spirit while you shop at The Pantiles Christmas Market every weekend in December. From 10am to 4pm, enjoy stalls selling unique local food, drink, seasonal goodies, bread, clothing, art, craft and vintage. Warm up in one the many cafes, restaurants and pubs in the picturesque part of town adorned with twinkling lights.
♥ The children can make their own chocolates to give as gifts or enjoy over the festive period, at Temper Temper Chocolate workshop on Wednesday 23rd December.
♥ Christmas lights and a winter walk? There are always some cheerful Christmas lights to see at homes around Tunbridge Wells. We will update our ‘Where to find the best Christmas lights around Tunbridge Wells’ blog post when we know more. Why not combine it with a winter walk to a cosy pub or to a local cafe for a hot chocolate?
More of the our favourite East Sussex and Kent Christmas events and days out…
♥ This has been anything but expected, so this Christmas at Leeds Castle they’ll be embracing the unexpected with a display of alternative Christmas trees! Visit the castle during the festive period and look out for the glorious bespoke handmade Christmas trees on display in the stunning state rooms. These non-traditional trees will include one made entirely of crockery in the Queen’s Gallery, with the tips and trimmings made from cutlery. As well as the alternative tree installations children will be able to post their letters to Father Christmas at his special post office, and our team will make sure that he gets them in time for a special Christmas delivery.
♥ English Heritage have come up with a great way for the whole family to leave the new toys and jigsaws behind for a while and enjoy some fresh air between Christmas and New Year. Take on the Battle Abbey adventure quest, that will see you exploring the castle grounds hunting for clues and QR codes to revel quirky tales. Then sit back to enjoy a hot chocolate or mulled wine in the beautiful wintry surroundings.
I hope your found this blog post with the best East Sussex and Kent Christmas events and days out useful? If you haven’t booked a visit to Father Christmas in Kent and East Sussex yet, we have a very special guide with some amazing options!